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"A Danish Question" Topic


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410 hits since 12 Dec 2014
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enfant perdus12 Dec 2014 11:20 p.m. PST

I've been learning Danish recently and I'm fascinated by the fact that, even with my Flashmanesque gift for languages, it's really difficult to understand what the hell anyone is saying. Reading and writing are a breeze, and I feel comfortableish speaking, even though I haven't quite got the hang of all the vowels, or the stød. Listening comprehension? Yikes.

So I did some digging and found several mentions of the rapid changes in spoken Danish over the past decades. One piece mentioned the marked difference between generations, noting that the "WWII generation" sounds very different than the "millennials". This is not just a case of slang and imported words for new technologies, but an actual shift in phonology.

My questions then are:
1) Do you find this to be true? If so, to what extent?
2) When historical films and programs (such as 1864, or the upcoming 9.APRIL) are made, do they use the older pronunciations? If so, does it sound unusually stiff or formal to you?

Tak!

Chris Rance15 Dec 2014 12:30 a.m. PST

Glad it's not just me, enfant. I seem to have "acquired" a number of Danish friends over the last few years, so I have started learning myself. Like you, I find the reading and writing pretty simple, though my pron is not so hot. The listening – yikes!

I don't know about the shift in pron over the last few decades (though the syntax has clearly changed), but listening to people from Jylland is painfully different enough (sorry, Janner!). And even other Scandinavians make fun of the incomprehensibility of Danish!

YouTube link

enfant perdus15 Dec 2014 6:24 p.m. PST

That was awesome. I particularly like the bit about the Danish number system. My first reaction on encountering it was "Whaaa…base 20? Really?"

Personal logo Weasel Supporting Member of TMP05 Jan 2015 8:35 p.m. PST

There are differences in the way things are phrased but it's easily understandable if you are native speaking.

It mostly looks and sounds rather formal but TV shows tend to go with modern pronunciations.
It's worth noting that the more modern you get, the more English words start to show up, especially post-WW2.

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